Don’t @ Me: Thirteen of my Anime Opinions: Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop Edition

It’s Monday which means it is time for this! Welcome back to Don’t @ Me! The place where, like the live action Faye Valentine, I call people dickwads as I give you my thoughts and views on everything anime and manga related. This week can only be about that fucking show. So let’s sit down, drink heavily and get it over with it.

Look at it!
  1. I debated how I was going to approach this. I was going to go full negative, but that’s not who I am. I view things objectively and fairly, and I don’t want rage, most of which isn’t my own to overshoot what I think is worth talking about. So as always, let’s take a breath and look at this objectively.

2. I should also preface that I am not a Cowboy Bebop fan. I reviewed the anime a short while back and I was at best, lukewarm on the entire show. It’s beautifully animated with a fantastic soundtrack and (for it’s time) the best anime dub ever made. But it was also too episodic with under developed characters and a focus on storylines that did nothing to pull me in. It deserves its praise, but I do think my generation has put this on too high a pedestal. With all that said, what do I think about the live action version?

3. Had the show just been something wholly unique, I think it might have been enjoyable. There would have been comparisons to Firefly, most likely views as the ‘zoomer’ version of that, but I think it would have gotten a good reception. Not the best by any means, but I think there would have been more favorable thoughts.

4. But instead, it was Cowboy Bebop, the (honestly overrated) holy grail of an entire anime generation. One of the few shows that non-anime fans have watched and enjoyed. Couple that with the already sub-zero reputation live-action anime has, we all knew this was going to suck. It was just a question of how much.

5. And to be fair, I will say two nice things. One is that the actor who plays Jet Black is probably the best translation from anime to live-action there has ever been. He falls into the role completely. The other is that the sets do feel true to form, if a little low budget. But hey, credit where it is due, those two things work.

6. The rest however, is absolutely no holds barred, 100% uncut, true to form, fucking garbage. I could, as I am sure many will, sit here and nitpick the entire series to death, but since I am not a fan, and have better things to do, I’m going to focus on one thing: Faye Valentine. And I just want to ask one question.

7. Women of the anime fandom and nerd culture. Is that what you think a well developed female character is? Is that what you think is empowering, and strong, and admirable? Taking apparently one of the most iconic femme fatales of the 4kids/Toonami Generation and turning her into…that? Is that really what people think women want to see? Ladies, is that what you want to see? I can’t answer the question, but it just boggles my mind

8. Do people not have any faith in the source material? Did people really look at Faye Valentine, and go “you know what she needs? To swear all the fucking time, act like a teenage brat and be a lesbian for some reason.” Is that what people think is “changing for the better?” Are these the people we are going to entrust with some of the most beloved and respected characters in the medium?

9. And look, reasonable people knew a 1 to 1 adaptation was never in the cards. I made my thoughts clear on the costume change before. Reasonable sane people didn’t expect that. But they DID expect the creators not to fuck around in the sandbox that much. There is some of that in the show, but there is also a flagrant disregard for other stuff, and again, it baffles my mind.

10. Because honestly, look at what they did to Faye has me absolutely terrified for any other live action anime they do. I’ve said this before, but female characters in anime are so beloved not because of their measurements, but because they don’t have anything to prove. They aren’t justifying their existence every second. They get to be all types of characters, for all types of people. Can you imagine the people who did this to Fay taking a swing at Kurisu? Rin Tohsaka, Yoko Littner, Murrue Ramius, Saber, just to name a few?

11. And yeah, I’ll admit anime is not perfect. There are tropes and archetypes, some that are leaned on far too often. But it is far and away MUCH better than people really see it as. Of course that is my view, other fans, especially female ones might have a different opinion and that can be valid. But what was done to Faye here wasn’t just disrespectful, it was downright fucking criminal. And again, I’m NOT A FAN of the anime version of Cowboy Bebop.

12. And I haven’t even talked about what they did to Vicious, Julia, or poor freaking Gren. But actions on display do not fill me with any hope that western media companies are going to treat these works with any SLIVER of true respect. They won’t let the characters be who they are, and instead (especially for the female characters) twist and transform them into whatever they think will trend on twitter. I think we all knew this was going to happen, but it doesn’t make what we saw any less of a true gut punch.

13. So in conclusion. The One Piece live action anime is so horribly fucked.

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